This week Awesome Stories focuses on sustainable initiatives to celebrate Earth Day with rooftop gardens, wood powered batteries, biochar, innovation and habitat revitalization.
I couldn’t resist the reference to the Alamo. Who would have thought that San Antonio would be a leader for urban habitat restoration. The recently completed River Walk Mission Reach Expansion project is considered one of the nations leading urban ecosystem restorations. The project was large in every sense; construction took 6 years and $358M, 8 miles of river drainage were restored, 15 miles of new trails, 300 acres of riparian habitat, 10,000 lbs of wildflower seeds, 23000 bushes and trees, and aquatic wildlife diversity was restored. Their goal is also to improve conditions for local residents and add to the tourism industry. The project has drawn planners from around the world to learn from the design. Go Texas!
Wood Goes High Tech
Researchers at OSU have discovered a breakthrough in using cellulose for high tech applications in supercapacitors. Their new approach can produce nano scale, porous carbon membranes (as the electrodes of a supercapacitor) at low cost, quickly, in an environmentally benign process. Methane is the only byproduct, and could be used as a fuel. Their low cost method for making carbon membranes could revolutionize the use of supercapacitors which have numerous industrial applications in computers, electronics, hybrid cars and much more.
Green World Campaign
Here’s a fun and inspiring article by Marc Ian Barasch about his journey to compassionate action for the earth. His Mother was his model for compassion, but it wasn’t until after she died that he was moved to go deeper into compassion. His conclusion, with a little help from a friend, was to practice green compassion. Thus was born the seed for his Green World Campaign to plants trees as one of the simplest and most impactful ways to help the planet.
The Beauty of Mother Earth
Cool Planet has an interesting product called BioChar. It’s the by-product of making biofuels from wood, agriculture and other non-food biomass materials. Their mission is to help address the three critical areas of energy, food and water. They claim their proprietary process can actually turn fuel production into a carbon negative process. Their plants are designed to be smaller, lower cost and located near biomass sources and existing fuel infrastructure. The BioChar material can boost crop yields, reduce fertilizer use and reduce greenhouse emissions.
The Fuller Challenge
I love the broad scope of the Buckminster Fuller Institute, serving as a platform to encourage innovative, holistic systems based solutions to today’s biggest challenges. Buckminster Fuller was one of the most innovative minds of the century, proclaiming that we must “make the world work for 100% of humanity, in the shortest possible time, through spontaneous cooperation, without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.” The Fuller Challenge seeks to fulfill his vision in what has been called the “highest award for socially responsible design.”
In this futuristic vision for NYC, architects and city planners brainstormed to see if they could transform the city to be self sufficient for its food. Streets, buildings and many more spaces would be re-purposed for food production. This is a great exercise in creative re-purposing. Whether NC could really attain food sustainability, I don’t know. Read the Huffington Post article for more cool pictures.
Sustainability is becoming integrated to where we won’t call it alternative, but merely the normal way of living in harmony with our beautiful mother earth. Meanwhile, the best thing we can do is to create peace in our hearts and send out loving vibrations to all people, plants, animals and the planet.